Small Business Guide: How to Accept Credit Card Payments Online

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A Roadmap for Small Businesses: How to Accept Credit Card Payments Online

Written by: Marielle Mekkaoui

To be competitive in today’s market, every business, from the Amazons and Zappos of the world to your toy store, need the ability to sell and accept credit card payments online. But if you’re a small business you probably don’t have access to the same resources and capital as larger, more established companies, making the idea of setting up an online store a daunting one, another to-do to add to the list. Fortunately, thanks to advancements in modern payment technology over the last few years, setting up an online payment system is much easier than you might think. In fact, you can do it all yourself with this handy 6-step small business guide on how to accept credit card payments online.


6 Steps to Simple eCommerce Credit Card Processing

Step 1: Setup Payment Gateway

The first step is to select your payment gateway provider. Since regulations prohibit merchants from accepting credit card payments directly from consumers, a payment gateway allows you to comply with regulations, acting as the middleman between you and your shopper. A payment gateway will process transactions for your online orders and manage a host of issues surrounding payment including fraud detection, international transactions, multiple payment types and much more.


When you choose a payment gateway you will also decide if you want to use fully hosted pages or develop your own custom checkout pages with an API. For most small businesses, hosted pages make the most sense since they are simple to set up (a click of your mouse) and will allow you to easily sell in international markets if you choose to do so.


Finally, you will have the option to make use of a virtual terminal (if your payment gateway offers one). A virtual terminal allows you, the merchant, to place orders for your shoppers via your website (should they place an order over the phone or through email).


You can find the best payment gateway for your small business by asking these 10 questions.



Step 2: Setup Merchant Account

A merchant account is simply a bank account where your funds will be deposited after shoppers make purchases on your site. If you integrate with a full stack payment platform, like BlueSnap, you will receive both a payment gateway and a merchant account, allowing you to start accepting payments online and get paid out right away.


Pro Tip: If possible seek out a full-stack payment platform because when the same provider manages your gateway and merchant account, they can generally offer lower fees.



Step 3: Setup Online Store (Shopping Cart)

Integrating with a shopping cart can help you host and manage your online catalog and provide a robust platform for your customers to place orders. A few examples of tried and true shopping carts are: Magento, PrestaShop, and WooCommerce. Each shopping cart has a backend connection to a multitude of payment gateways, allowing you to choose the payment platform you like and integrate it with your shopping cart of choice.



Step 4: Select Pricing Model

There are a multitude of pricing models that you can choose from when setting up your online payment system. The best option for a small business merchant is typically a fixed pricing model. This works best for small businesses because they are usually not processing a large amount of transactions each month. With a fixed pricing model, you will be charged the same amount per each transaction (most likely a percentage). If your business starts to process more, most payment gateways can provide you with a tiered pricing model, which will go off of the volume you process each month and price accordingly.



Step 5: Ensure PCI Compliance

When setting up a small business online, you should make sure that you choose a payment gateway that is PCI compliant. This is important to ensure that you adhere to industry security standards and will be the easiest way for you to protect your customer’s sensitive payment information.




Step 6: Check Your Fraud Protection

Fraud protection is essential for all businesses that want to accept credit card payments online and small businesses are no exception. Similar to PCI compliance, it will be easier for you to integrate with a payment gateway that has verifiable fraud protection services so that you can leverage their built-in fraud prevention capabilities. Not only will fraud protection services help you protect shopper data but also help you prevent excessive chargebacks, which can damage the reputation of your business.




Have more questions about how to accept credit card payments online? Connect with a BlueSnap Conversion Consultant who will be able to answer all your questions and help guide you in the right direction – towards the best payment solutions, setup and options for your small business.

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